The pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi temple resumed on Thursday after the forest fire in Trikuta Hills in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district was doused with the help of Indian Air Force helicopters, reported PTI.
Two IAF choppers used specialised buckets, each with a capacity of around 2,500 litres, to bring water from the Reasi reservoir and douse the flames, reported The Indian Express. The choppers sourced water from the Reasi water reservoir to fill the buckets that were suspended on a cable.
Close to 10,000 pilgrims seeking to trek to the Vaishno Devi temple were left stranded at the Katra base camp in Reasi district on Wednesday after authorities suspended the yatra because of the raging forest fire.
“The helicopter service between Katra and Shanjichat resumed around 7 am and the pilgrimage via old Ban Ganga route was restarted around 9 am,” an official of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, which manages the pilgrimage, told the Hindustan Times. Himkoti Marg, where battery cars are operated, will only open on Thursday evening, the official said.
Reasi distrct’s Senior Superintendent of Police Tahir Sajjad Bhat said nearly 10,000 pilgrims had left the Katra base camp for the cave shrine by 12 pm on Thursday, reported the Hindustan Times.